Gender Equality In Times of COVID-19

Ashoka Belgium talks to Isabella Lenarduzzi: Fellow spotlight during Covid19
Jump conference
Source: Ashoka Belgium
Talking to Isabella Lenarduzzi

Her struggle with the challenges posed by COVID19 

and the state of the world.


She's been a social entrepreneur for over thirty years, specialising in the fields of employment, education, entrepreneurship, European affairs and gender equality. 

In 2006, she started
JUMP, a pioneering social enterprise that works on with organisations and individuals to eliminate inequalities between women and men at work, create a sustainable economy and a more egalitarian society.

She joined the Ashoka family in 2013, by becoming a
Fellow. Today, she continues to work to further advance gender equality in the corporate workforce and build a more just world.

However, like many of us, Isabella has been profoundly affected by the current health crisis, both on a personal and professional level. Here is what she has to say.

How are you feeling?

Peaceful and worried at the same time.
Peaceful because it is pointless to be stressed by a situation that we cannot control. In order to manage the damages of the sanitary crisis consequences, we need to stay calm to have the clearest mind as possible.
Worried because this situation is a turning point in our civilisation. We could use it to reinvent a better world but if we prefer security over freedom, it will bring all of us to authoritarian regimes and archaic behaviours reinforcing multiple systemic dominations. These dominations are centred on the millennial masculine domination over women and of masculinity over femininity.

How has JUMP been affected by the current crisis? What are some of the challenges you are currently facing?

Every conference or training that we deliver for companies or for a broader public have been postponed or even canceled because of the unpredictable way and timing of the recovery. But my biggest fear is that when we will get out of the sanitary crisis, we will have to face an incredibly deep economic crisis. How will leaders and corporates react? Which allocation of resources will they decide? Which values will guide them? Equality, diversity and inclusion were never considered strategic by most of them. It was considered a “nice to have”. The economic model of JUMP is based on the services we sell to companies and organisations to advance inclusion in their culture and practices. How can we survive if they believe our mission is not among their priorities?

How has the advancement of gender equality been affected?

Every day we receive news of the backlash
Hungary that votes for a totalitarian regime exactly as Germany did 87 years ago with Hitler’s Enabling Act.
Russia and China that guide unprecedent attacks against the EU especially in France, Italy and Poland through social networks, public affairs and fake news.
The composition of the Belgian task force for the economic reconstruction: 100% men!
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion will not happen without lively democracies, a united Europe and diversity among its leaders.

What activities do you do to take care of yourself?

I spend more time reading and listening to philosophers, writers and economists to better understand and grasp the crisis we are going through.
I try to breathe, to meditate, to concentrate on beauty, lightness, gentleness … and to let it go. But most of the time the news affects me.

What can the audience that will read this do to support you?

Ask me to come to your company or community to share my knowledge and vision about equality and inclusion. Ask JUMP to support your cultural corporate change and D&I policies.
Read and distribute the free handbooks and tools that JUMP offers you ( )
Recommend JUMP to your friends. Please be part of the JUMP community, register to our newsletter and our social media. Share my posts and articles and the ones of JUMP among your community. Everyone of us is responsible of our immediate future. The number of people choosing actively the way for a better world will be decisive.

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Follow JUMP on social media and check out their website! They're on Facebook, Twitter & Linked In.

For more information about JUMP, watch their introduction video on what they do and what they stand for:


Watch Isabella's TED Talk about the evolution of women's position in society and how we got where we are: